About the Book
Scandal will shake foundations
Treachery will tip balances.
Choices will have consequences.
And secrets? Those will change everything.
A night of careless passion leaves Battlemage Jex Xander and Adept Enari Alycon in a precarious position. Long-time lovers they might be, but the Imperial ambassador and the daughter of Egalion’s High Mage have rather public roles in the court—whether they wish it or not—and scandal couldn’t come at a worse time.
When a hostile kingdom reluctantly agrees to parley, the fate of two-thousand years of peace is on the line. In the midst of negotiations, Enari becomes the target of one of the Greater Maelstrom. She and Jex must race against time to save her life and that of her unborn child. What happens when an earth-shattering secret, a demon bent on destruction, and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war collide is anyone’s guess.
The decisions of a few will determine the fate of many, and who or what will remain standing in the end is still uncertain. Hearts and lives are on the cusp of irrevocable change…and not necessarily for the better.
Ronelle Antoinette lives in western Colorado with her husband, two cats, and one dog-who-believes-he’s-a-person. While she is a mother to none, she’s an auntie to what should qualify as a small army. She is an admitted caffeine addict, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic who has carried on a passionate affair with the genre of fantasy since she was old enough to read ‘chapter books’. She dabbled in creative writing for many years and even considered it as a major in college. (She ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016 and it’s sequel, Flash Point, a year later.
“Would you share my room with me?” Jex asked as they walked. “You don’t have to, of course. As part of the Imperial family, you can have your own if you like or—well, they’re the same as when you were here last, if that makes any difference in your decision.”
She laced her fingers through his and swung their clasped hands between them. “I’d be happy to. It might be nice not to sneak around like naughty children all the time.”
“You don’t think Vasi will have me killed, do you? This is the place to find a contract hitter if you’re looking.”
Instead of laughing as expected, Enari stopped mid-step and pulled him to a halt with the tether of their clasped hands.
“I’m not her apprentice anymore, Jex,” she said. “Consent is mine and mine alone to give. Stop worrying about Vasi.”
They studied one another for a long moment before his face broke into a broad grin.
“As it please you, my lady.” He sketched her a courtly little bow.
“Besides,” Enari added with a quirk of her eyebrow, “she’s a master apothecary. If she wanted you dead, she wouldn’t need to hire anyone.”
He blinked at her, mouth open. She sounded more sure of that than he was comfortable with.
She did laugh then, and darted up the stairs ahead of him. He was quick to give chase.
They reached his room on the fourth floor and Enari was watching him over her shoulder as she reached for the knob. His expression changed to one of dismay and he started to call a warning, but it was too late.
Her fingers closed around what should have been cold metal and blistering pain lanced up her arm. An ominous crackling filled the air and the door emitted an angry orange glow. She tried to pull away but found herself rendered immobile by the hostile magic.
Jex was at her side in an instant, muttering a few words under his breath and slashing a hand through the air. The noise, light, and heat vanished and Enari jerked back, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks.
“Diu, I’m so sorry. I completely forgot!” He took her hand and examined the reddening skin. “I’ve had to ward the door to keep unwanted ‘servants’ from going through my things.”
He raised her palm to his mouth and blew on it before planting the most delicate of kisses against the inside of her wrist. Then, without releasing her, he took the key from his pocket.
Once the door shut behind them, he dropped their packs to the floor and started rummaging in a side table. He finally turned up a small jar and a roll of bandages and came back to her.
“This should help ease the sting,” he said, spreading a thick cream over her palm and rubbing it in with his thumbs.
“I take it I’m not the first to have a run-in with your little booby trap?” she quipped.
“Eh, no. I’ve burnt myself twice,” he admitted with a sheepish smile. He raised his left hand and showed her the scar.
Securing the bandage around her hand, he examined his work before raising his eyes to hers. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
Enari shook her head, biting her lip to keep from smiling. “I think I’m fine, but thank you for asking, sir.”
“Are you sure? We’ve been riding an awfully long time and Astraeus was a little overenthusiastic. Maybe I ought to check the rest of you.” His hands dropped to her hips, then slid around to cup her bottom.
Her giggle became a moan as his mouth descended on hers.
“Jex…” she protested between kisses. “They’re expecting us for dinner and there’s something I need—”
“Shh,” he murmured, working at the clasps of her tunic, “I know what you need, and don’t worry about dinner. No one will mind if we’re fashionably late.”
A stray, lust-driven thought that was not her own flitted into her mind’s eye as his mental barriers relaxed for just an instant. She saw her own body arching to meet his and heard tiny moans as he thrust into her again and again. The image was gone almost as quickly as it had come, but the intensity of it left her heart pounding and her breath ragged. Psychomancy could be distracting if they weren’t careful, as strong emotions made it difficult to maintain the protective barrier around one’s thoughts. With Jex, it was also intimate on a level most never experienced. It enhanced their pleasure, looping back on itself and feeding the arousal of one to the other.
Her hands went to his belt and began pulling at it. He was right; dinner could wait. They couldn’t.
Just as his hand slipped into her tunic and cupped around her breast, the door behind them began to open.
“Jex, some important messages came while you were gone and Mama said—oh.”
A pained look crossed his face. Eyes closed and teeth clenched, he counted under his breath before turning to face the intruder.
“Torina. I know you’ve been taught to knock.”
Kylan’s wide and startled eyes darted from his aggrieved expression to Enari, who was fumbling to secure the front of her tunic.
“Oh. Ohhh. Um, sorry! I’ll just…I should go.” She started backing out of the room but stopped when Jex shook his head.
“You’re already here.” He held out a hand. “Let’s have them.”